Published on 12 November 2019
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Cambridge University leads new research to create national measures for wellbeing

Researchers at the University of Cambridge’s Bennett Institute for Public Policy, partnering with the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, have launched a major new project to offer central and local government a set of simple, practical, and evidence-informed measures for wellbeing.

Measuring Wellbeing will give insight into why wellbeing can vary for different groups in society. It is headed by leading Economist, Diane Coyle, Bennett Professor of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge:

“During the past decade, there has been growing recognition that the measurement of economic progress needs to extend beyond GDP. The measurement of well-being as a holistic indicator of progress is an appealing alternative generating a good deal of policy interest.

But for governments to put this into practice, the first step is developing the tools to measure it in a practical way policy makers can use. This project will start exploring how we might select the most significant wellbeing indicators for different people or places so policymakers can get an impression of the wellbeing ‘health’ of the country at a glance.”

About the project:

  • The research will use expert interviews to test how relevant our current wellbeing indicators are across different groups or people.
  • Statistical methods will explore how well the current wellbeing metrics reflect these sources of wellbeing variation across communities.
  • The researchers will also test methods to produce a manageable set of indicators for policy use.

This interdisciplinary project, involving Diane Coyle, Matthew Agarwala and Anna Alexandrova at the University of Cambridge, is a partnership between the Bennett Institute for Public Policy and the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, contributing to its work on providing an evidence base on the relative impacts of policies and projects on wellbeing.

The project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy.

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